What Happened in Jewelry: A Look Back at 2020

Each year we’re treated to a host of tempting jewelry trends, whether they’re held over from the year before, recycled from the past, or, somehow, completely new (or at least seemingly so). But each year, you can get a sense of what has influenced these most popular looks, whether it’s a pop culture phenomenon or, in the case of 2020, a pandemic.

The thing about jewelry being as personal as it is, is that it didn’t matter if we were staying at home—we still wanted it. We just needed it to be practical, easy to wear, and meaningful.

Ursa Major Stella huggies
Stella huggies in 18k yellow gold with sapphires, $2,800; Ursa Major

Pamela Love released a new piercing collection so we could keep our ears as festive and funky as ever. Huggie earrings were comfortable glam. Michelle Fantaci’s jewelry was wearable and covetable. Moritz Glik turned his glitz into everyday glamour. And gemstone beads were a bit of low-key luxe.

Annoushka Lovelock charms
Lovelock charms on cable chain bracelet, all in 18k yellow gold, with sapphires and diamonds, $11,250 (can also be purchased separately); Annoushka

To search for meaningful jewelry in 2020 was to be met with an abundance of options. There was Sofia Zakia’s tarot card collection. Penny Preville had medallions. Suzanne Kalan fancied up the evil eye. Colette brought the art deco–inspired initials. Annoushka’s Lovelocks were irresistible. Diaboli Kill’s Damian Horn collection was fierce.

As we searched for meaning in our purchases, we also looked to do good with them. Designers came together in a series of raffles, including this one to benefit Higher Heights for America.


Britt redesigned engagement ring Single Stone
My redesigned engagement ring by Single Stone

It was a great year for bridal—and love certainly wouldn’t bow to any pandemic. Proposals and even weddings still happened, though perhaps not as they were originally planned. In the beginning of the year, I shared the story of my engagement ring redesign. I’ve been wearing it for over a year now and am happy to report I love it as much as ever.

Gaelle Khouri engagement ring
Engagement ring in 18k yellow gold with white, brown, and yellow diamonds, price on request; Gaelle Khouri

Shahla Karimi introduced an epic new engagement ring line dubbed Mid-Century. The cluster-style ring stole my heart (and the hearts of others). And Gaelle Khouri’s new wedding rings were mind-blowing.

Ana Katarina Air ring
Four Elements collection Air ring in 18k yellow gold with Chilean lapis and 0.31 ct. t.w. diamonds, $13,525; AnaKatarina

In 2020, we looked to the sky and set our sights on celestial jewelry—no big change from years past, though perhaps they were even more meaningful now. The stars and moon continued to inspire. And even the sun had a chance to shine.

Nikos Koulis Oui earrings
Oui Arrowhead Fringe earrings in 18k yellow gold, price on request; Nikos Koulis

Fringe jewelry had a moment, from Kristen Wiig’s Academy Awards look (in the beginning of the year, when events were still happening) to chain-like fringe accents on pieces like these. And speaking of chains, we preferred ours of the paper clip variety this year. Key jewelry had its share of highlights, too. And then there were the tennis bracelets.

Andrea Fohrman men's ring
Ring in 18k yellow gold with azurite malachite, price on request; Andrea Fohrman

Perhaps my favorite trend of the year, though maybe it’s more of a progression than a trend, was the development of the men’s jewelry category. Men seemed to get more comfortable with experimenting with their style, and jewels were no exception. Reverse (or dual) proposals continued to increase in popularity. Andrea Fohrman released an incredible new collection of rings for men. Icelandic jeweler Aurum introduced a new men’s collection. Nicholas Hoult wore some pretty epic pearls on Hulu’s The Great.

By Chari vote necklace
Vote necklace in 14k yellow gold, 16″, $295; ByChari

It was an election year, and jewelers did not sleep on it. This necklace from jeweler ByChari caught the spotlight on none other than Michelle Obama. A Thousand Facets, along with a cavalry of jewelry designers, urged others to vote.

Harwell Godfrey Major moon necklace
Major necklace in 18k yellow gold with mother-of-pearl crescent moon pendant on a rainbow stone bead and baroque pearl strand, $13,150; Harwell Godfrey

Finally, there was the pearl. If one gemstone could come away with the VIP title of 2020, this would no doubt be be it. The pearl did the unexpected, it blurred genders, it impressed what I believed was the unimpressable (me). It was fresh, it was fun. It was everything this year couldn’t be. Now, as we head into 2021, here’s hoping pearl gets the fresh air it so rightfully earned this year in quarantine.

Top: Bonded Heart charm in 14k yellow gold with blue enamel and 0.66 ct. t.w. diamonds, $4,860; Ball and Chain charm in 14k yellow gold with 1.43 cts. t.w. diamonds, $6,225; Michelle Fantaci

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JCK Contributing Editor

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